architect: Safdie Architects
The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is conceptualized and designed by architect Moshe Safdie as the first museum dedicated to the dynamic interplay between art and science. Designed as part of the Government of Singapore’s vision that Marina Bay Sands feature an iconic cultural building on the promontory, the ArtScience Museum is grounded around a circular base with 10 extending finger-like structures that house 21 naturally lit galleries. Surrounded by a lily pond reflecting pool and boasting commanding views of downtown Singapore, the Museum is a symbol for Singapore. The design of the Museum is composed of two principle parts. The base, which is embedded in the earth and surrounded by the Bay’s water and a giant lily pond, and a flower-like structure made of 10 petals, generated by the geometry of spheroids of varying radii that seemingly floats above the landscaped pond base. The petals, or fingers as some refer to them, rise towards the sky with varying heights, each crowned by a skylight which draws in daylight penetrating the base and illuminating the galleries within.
The museum is entered through a free-standing glass pavilion. Large elevators and escalators convey the public to the lower and upper galleries. In total, there are three levels of galleries with a total area of 6,000 square metres. The dish-like roof form collects rainwater and drains it through an oculus, creating a waterfall through the centre of the museum that feeds an interior pond. The asymmetrical museum structure reaches upward into the skyline as high as 60 metres and is supported by an elaborate steel lattice structure. This assembly is supported by ten columns and tied down at its centre by a basket-like diagrid, a sculptural centrepiece that accommodates the asymmetrical forces that the building’s form generates. The result in an efficient resolution of the structural forces for the building, giving it a seemingly weightless quality as it hovers above the ground. The museum’s envelope is composed of double-curved Fiber Reinforced Polymer [FRP] skin typically used at such a scale in the construction of boats and yachts. The vertical sides of each petal are sheathed in bead-blasted stainless steel panels. The unprecedented use of FRP has made possible the joint-less, continuous skin for each of the sail-like surfaces achieving a sense of lightness with their gleaming petals. As elsewhere in Marina Bay Sands, the building aims and achieves the highest levels of sustainability.